Freelancing in the Philippines: A Fad or Here to Stay?

Author: Cholo Hermoso

Landing a job on the job market is never easy. The market is ultra-competitive because usually, there are no vacancies or openings. If a job miraculously opens, someone gets hired in an instant. When COVID-19 unprecedentedly attacked, people were laid off from work and jobs became even more scarce. Despite this, this type of workforce managed to survive the negative effects of the pandemic on work — freelancing in the Philippines.

For a while, it seemed that freelance jobs in the Philippines were reeling from the effects of COVID-19 as for the first half of 2020, the demand was dipping.

However, as the pandemic waned on, companies began looking for more freelancers over full-time employees. From late 2020 to the present, the number of freelance jobs in the Philippines is increasing along with the number of freelance workers. Perhaps one reason to attribute this rise to is the preference of freelance workers who are well-acclimated with the remote setup.

As of June 2021, around 1.5 million Filipinos are contributing to the gig economy. According to Creative Economy Council of the Philippines (CECP) President Paolo Mercado, those 1.5 million Filipinos are internationally employed as freelancers engaging in mostly creative work, and even employed internationally.

Considering how people navigated through the workforce during the pandemic, these trying times may be the paradigm shift in how the workforce will look like going forward.

Henceforth, freelancing in the Philippines will stay on the rise and is here to stay.

A result of the pandemic

From the onset of COVID-19, the global economy was put on a halt and multiple companies worldwide had to lay off many of their full-time employees. Aside from this, companies also shifted to a remote setting.

Now that those formerly full-time employees are unemployed, the need to make a living in the context of COVID-19 helped them find freelance work.

Right now, aside from needing money, many workers love the flexibility offered by temporary gigs. As a matter of fact, global freelance platform Fiverr conducted a study wherein because of the pandemic, 68% of remote professionals prefer freelancing.

Online platforms

Certainly, because of the rise of information and technology, navigating through this pandemic became less bad than it could have been. Without social media, video games — and all these online communication platforms, people would not be able to go to school at all, would have nobody to talk to, and people might literally die from boredom.

But after more than two years of virtually threading through this pandemic, people have learned that the use of technology with work makes this a viable option going forward.

Zoom and Google Meet have been the most used platforms for meetings and conferences. For other matters, one can always email or message another.

That is why the Work from Home (WFH) setup of hybrid setup is being seriously considered by the Philippine government and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Adaptability of freelancers

Online platforms will make the WFH setup or hybrid setup possible. But for freelance jobs in the Philippines, those who have been working them are already accustomed to them. Since 83% of freelancers work at home, they are already used to navigating through the internet and computer applications.

Hence, when the pandemic started, freelancers were the least affected because they already know how to work remotely — working at their home desks and communicating virtually. 

Other than this, being freelance workers, they had to work with a diverse set of people from different time zones if the employer is international. 

So, if the move is to join freelancing in the Philippines, you must be quick to adjust different time slots and work with an unpredictable demographic and volume of clients.


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